North Korea has not sent its athletes to an international weightlifting competition being held in Cuba despite its earlier registration of entries to the event, according to the weightlifting governing body Friday.
North Korea had registered a team of 14 athletes for the International Weightlifting Federation Grand Prix I to be held from June 8-18 in Havana, sparking speculation over the North's return to the international sports arena following years of COVID-19-related border shutdown.
But the North's team had not arrived in Havana by Wednesday, one day before the start of the competition, one of the key qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Olympics, according to the IWF website.
The North's athletes were supposed to have arrived in Cuba by Monday to participate in the competition, but they did not show up without any prior notice to the IWF or the organizer of Grand Prix I, according to the US-based media outlet Radio Free Asia.
In 2021, the International Olympic Committee suspended North Korea until the end of 2022 for its decision to skip the Tokyo Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speculation has been growing that the North may reopen its border with China and permit cross-border movements of people soon as it appears to gear up for resuming participation in global sports events. (Yonhap)